Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers and other bookish bods to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Bernadette from Reactions to Reading.
Bernadette is based in Adelaide, Australia, and her blog is a fascinating and eclectic mix of reviews, in particular crime fiction, but also historical fiction and memoirs, as well as posts about issues affecting readers in Australia, such as the high cost of books and geographical copyright restriction.
Without further ado, here’s Bernadette’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
I first read this book while travelling in the land in which it is set, which is undoubtedly part of the reason I fell in love with it. But it’s not the whole reason. I love its scope, its drama, its epic feel and the way it tells one of history’s biggest stories on a very human scale.
It is the tale of an area of land, known as a Tell, in what is now Israel from Stone Age times to the birth of modern Israel in 1948. Each chapter re-visits the Tell at various points in history, where the land basically stays the same but the humans using it change quite dramatically over several thousand years. The book has archaeologists and parallel time frames and multiple religions and just about everything else I have ever wanted in one long, delicious package.
Having just read quite a lot of Holocaust-related books for my last year at high school I remember being uninspired to read this book when I stumbled across it in a second-hand shop in the summer of 1984/85. But Keneally is one of my favourite Australian authors, so I took it home.
It is the story of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party, who risked his business and his life to save 1,200 Jews during WWII. The book isn’t melodramatic and it doesn’t paint a picture of a perfect hero in Schindler, which is why I love it.
The reason it changed my world is that I am, by nature, a pessimist and therefore inclined to think most things that need doing aren’t worth starting because something will invariably go wrong. What I learned from the book was that even though things probably will go wrong (Schindler died many years after the war as a pauper and considered a traitor to his country) things that need doing should be started even if it takes your last breath. And I learned that even a womanising alcoholic like Schindler can change the world, or at some people’s version of it. Not bad lessons to learn at 17.
This is a memoir by three people — a social worker, lawyer and doctor — who worked for the United Nations during the 1990s and early 2000s. Though each has a section of the book to themselves, they do meet and work together at various points, so there is some crossover. Between them the three have seen some of the modern world’s most horrific events in places like Cambodia, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Rwanda and the book is a very down-to-earth look at what works, and what doesn’t, where the UN is concerned.
I only heard about the book because Kofi Annan, who was UN Secretary-General when it was published, called for it to be banned. I don’t blame him as he would (or should) have been ashamed of what people would learn about his organisation from reading it. If I could demand a single book be read by every politician on the planet it would be this one. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it gave me a glimpse into things that should never happen again, but probably will.
Thanks, Bernadette, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve not read any Michener, but I know my dad was a big fan. I read Schindler’s Ark shortly before the Spielberg movie was released and found it a fascinating, slightly disturbing, but ultimately uplifting read. It was also incredibly detailed — more so than the movie. Finally, the Emergency Sex book sounds like it would be just my cup of tea, I do love a good exposé!
What do you think of Bernadette’s choices? Have you read any of these books?